4 cups bread flour OR 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/4 cup wheat gluten
2 teaspoons salt
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Mix sugar, water and yeast in a large mixing bowl and allow to proof. Measure out the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Once the dough has proofed, add you will add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Whether you are making this dough by hand or in a mixer, you will want to knead the dough vigorously, by hand for 10 to 15 minutes, or by machine on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes. (This is because we are developing the gluten.) The dough will be stiffer than other soft yeast doughs but will still be pliable and smooth once it has finished kneading. The dough will be stiff and floured enough not to leave much residue on your fingers after pinching a piece but not so stiff that you can’t easily pinch off pieces of dough and work with it.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it is noticeably puffy.
Transfer the risen dough to a work surface and divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on a lined or lightly greased baking tray and cover lightly. Let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.
Once they have rested, use your thumb to poke a hole through the center of each ball then twirl the dough and use your other fingers to stretch the hole until it is about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The entire bagel will be around 4 inches across. Place the shaped bagels on a parchment lined baking tray. (You can also lightly grease the tray.)
Prepare the water bath by heating the water and sugars to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Transfer the bagels, three or four at a time, to the simmering water. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over using a wide spatula, and cook 1 minute more. Using a wide spatula, carefully remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
Top the bagels with your desired ingredients. If you are going to use a dry topping, such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds, whisk together 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon water and brush each bagel with the mixture before topping heavily with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. If using Asiago or another cheese, there is no need to brush the bagels with an egg white glaze, simply place the shredded cheese on the bagels.
Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like. Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.